Mini-market bid to help ailing Portsmouth shopping streets

Giles Babb, landord of The Blue Bell

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THEMED ‘mini’ street markets could be a way of saving ailing shopping precincts, a council meeting has heard.

Members of a Portsmouth City Council scrutiny committee have looked at ways of reviving smaller shopping strips such as Havant Road in Drayton and Fratton Road in Fratton.

Fratton Road and the Bridge Shopping Centre in Fratton. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123700-2)

Fratton Road and the Bridge Shopping Centre in Fratton. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123700-2)

City development manager Claire Upton-Brown said small precincts were feeling the pinch of new super-stores and changing shopping patterns.

She said: ‘We’ve had evidence to suggest that some of the centres, such as Fratton, are failing.

‘We need to create the right environment that will make people want to go and spend money.’

Cllr Matthew Winnington said that while some shopping areas were struggling, others were flourishing, and this success needed to be looked at.

He said: ‘I can’t think of any empty units in Milton. It’s thriving.’

Cllr Julie Swan, who chaired the meeting, suggested shopping strips such as Allaway Avenue in Paulsgrove would benefit from Christmas markets, such as the one in Commercial Road.

‘Why not have a local version?’ she said.

Cllr Swann said a mobile library bus could be used as a travelling `Santa’s grotto’ for the markets.

Cllr Simon Bosher, of Drayton and Farlington Ward, said some areas were suffering more than others.

He said that while street markets in Commercial Road and Palmerston Road are good for the southern part of Portsmouth, they do little to help trade in the north of the city.

He said: ‘There are a lot of people who live off the island who couldn’t be bothered going to something like a farmers’ market in Palmerston Road.’

Cllr Bosher said promoting smaller farmers’ markets and themed markets in spots such as the wide, but underused pavement in front of the shops in Havant Road could help revive those areas.

He said: ‘We’re maybe looking to bring forward smaller versions of farmers’ markets to actually help regenerate those particular shopping centres and improve the footfall.’

Cllr Bosher also said it was important to encourage shop owners to take the lead on helping to regenerate their areas.

The News is proud to promote independent retailers. Business editor Claire French features shops doing their best in an increasingly competitive marketplace in our Shop Local feature in the paper every Wednesday.

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